NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Men from California and Louisiana are accused of smuggling protected turtles to China.
Online records show that 72-year-old Raymond Chiu of Foster City, California, and 44-year-old Eric Cottrell of Minden, Louisiana, are scheduled for arraignment Tuesday in federal district court in New Orleans.
Judge Ivan Lemelle set Chiu’s bond at $300,000 and Cottrell’s at $25,000.
According to a federal wildlife agent’s sworn statement, an informant and Chiu arranged for the sale of 220 turtles, including 160 of protected species.
It says Chiu wanted more protected turtles, and put an undercover agent in touch with Cottrell as someone with diamondback terrapins from Louisiana for sale.
The statement says Cottrell told the agent he’d caught 20 in a shrimp trawl even though they can legally only be caught by hand in Louisiana.
Neither Cottrell nor Chiu could immediately be reached for comment.